Kareem v. OCWEN Loan Servicing LLC et al
ORDER granting in part and denying in part 22 Defendants' Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's 1 Complaint. Signed by Judge Robin L. Rosenberg on 11/18/2015. (nkl)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF FLORIDA
CASE NO. 9:15-CV-80638-ROSENBERG/BRANNON
OCWEN LOAN SERVICING, LLC and
CITIBANK, N.A., as Trustee for AHMAT 2006-3,
ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART
DEFENDANTS’ MOTION TO DISMISS PLAINTIFF’S COMPLAINT
THIS CAUSE is before the Court on Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff’s
Complaint [DE 22]. The Court has carefully considered Defendants’ Motion, Plaintiff’s
Response thereto [DE 31], and Defendants’ Reply [DE 36], and is otherwise fully advised in the
premises. For the reasons set forth below, Defendants’ Motion is GRANTED IN PART and
DENIED IN PART. Defendants’ Motion is GRANTED to the extent it requests a more definite
statement of Plaintiff’s Complaint. In all other respects, Defendants’ Motion is DENIED.
On May 18, 2015, pro se Plaintiff Hussain Kareem filed a Complaint [DE 1] against
Defendants Ocwen Loan Servicing, LLC (“Ocwen”) and Citibank, N.A., as Trustee for AHMAT
2006-3 (“Citibank”). 1 To his Complaint, which on its own reaches 50 pages in length, Plaintiff
attached numerous exhibits comprising an additional 84 pages. See DE 1. Despite having
carefully reviewed Plaintiff’s Complaint and all exhibits attached thereto, the Court is unable to
Defendants’ Motion indicates that Citibank is incorrectly named in Plaintiff’s Complaint, and that Citibank’s
correct name is “Citibank, N.A. as Trustee for American Home Mortgage Assets 2006-3, Mortgage-Backed PassThrough Certificates Series 2006-3.” See DE 22 at 1.
determine the precise number of claims asserted by Plaintiff. Similarly, the legal basis and
factual support for each of Plaintiff’s claims is difficult to discern. At a minimum, the Court
surmises that most if not all of Plaintiff’s claims concern the legality of certain actions taken by
Defendants subsequent to Plaintiff’s purported rescission of his home loan. See id.
On August 4, 2015, Defendants filed a Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff’s Complaint [DE 22].
In their Motion, Defendants assert that Plaintiff’s Complaint is an impermissible shotgun
pleading, fails to comply with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a), and fails to state a claim
upon which relief can be granted. See DE 22. Defendants request that Plaintiff’s Complaint be
dismissed with prejudice or, in the alternative, that the Court order a more definite statement of
Plaintiff’s Complaint. See id.
The Court agrees that Plaintiff’s Complaint is an impermissible shotgun pleading and
fails to comply with the federal pleading standards set forth in the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure. As a result, the Court cannot determine whether any of Plaintiff’s claims warrant
dismissal without undertaking the onerous task of sifting through the various factual allegations
and legal conclusions contained in Plaintiff’s Complaint. The Court declines to do so. Instead,
the Court requires Plaintiff to replead his claims in a complaint that respects federal pleading
standards, as outlined below.
LEGAL STANDARD AND ANALYSIS
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a) requires that any claim for relief contain “a short
and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed. R. Civ. P.
8(a)(2) (emphasis added). Rule 8(a) works in conjunction with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
10(b), which requires that “each claim founded on a separate transaction or occurrence . . . must
be stated in a separate count,” to produce coherent, intelligible pleadings that clearly identify a
Plaintiff’s Complaint fails to comply with the federal pleading standards set forth in
Rules 8(a) and 10(b). It does not state each claim in a separate count, as required by Rule 10(b),
nor does it contain a short and plain statement of each claim, as required by Rule 8(a).
Compounding these failures is the fact that Plaintiff’s Complaint is an impermissible shotgun
The typical shotgun complaint contains several counts, each one incorporating by
reference the allegations of its predecessors, leading to a situation where most of
the counts (i.e., all but the first) contain irrelevant factual allegations and legal
conclusions. Consequently, in ruling on the sufficiency of a claim, the trial court
must sift out the irrelevancies, a task that can be quite onerous.
Strategic Income Fund, L.L.C. v. Spear, Leeds & Kellogg Corp., 305 F.3d 1293, 1295 (11th Cir.
2002). As a result, it is difficult to discern the precise number of claims Plaintiff intends to assert,
let alone the legal basis and factual support for each.
It is true that pro se litigants are not subject to the same pleading standards as attorneys.
See Powell v. Lennon, 914 F.2d 1459, 1463 (11th Cir. 1990) (“In the case of a pro se action,
moreover, the court should construe the complaint more liberally than it would formal pleadings
drafted by lawyers.”). Nevertheless, “the toleration of complaints such as this one ‘does great
disservice to the administration of civil justice.’” Magluta v. Samples, 256 F.3d 1282, 1284 (11th
Cir. 2001) (quoting Johnson Enterprises of Jacksonville, Inc. v. FPL Grp., Inc., 162 F.3d 1290,
1332 (11th Cir. 1998)). This does not mean, however, that dismissal of Plaintiff’s Complaint is
warranted at this stage.
Under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a defendant faced with a complaint
such as [Plaintiff’s] is not expected to frame a responsive pleading. Rather, the
defendant is expected to move the court, pursuant to Rule 12(e), to require the
plaintiff to file a more definite statement. Where, as here, the plaintiff asserts
multiple claims for relief, a more definite statement, if properly drawn, will
present each claim for relief in a separate count, as required by Rule 10(b), and
with such clarity and precision that the defendant will be able to discern what the
plaintiff is claiming and to frame a responsive pleading. Moreover, with the
shotgun pleading out of the way, the trial judge will be relieved of the
cumbersome task of sifting through myriad claims, many of which [may be]
foreclosed by [various] defenses. Experience teaches that, unless cases are pled
clearly and precisely, issues are not joined, discovery is not controlled, the trial
court’s docket becomes unmanageable, the litigants suffer, and society loses
confidence in the court’s ability to administer justice.
Anderson v. Dist. Bd. of Trustees of Cent. Florida Cmty. Coll., 77 F.3d 364, 366–67 (11th Cir.
1996) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted).
For the foregoing reasons, it is ORDERED AND ADJUDGED that Defendants’ Motion
to Dismiss Plaintiff’s Complaint [DE 22] is GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART as
1. Defendants’ Motion is GRANTED to the extent it requests a more definite statement
of Plaintiff’s Complaint. Plaintiff shall replead all claims in a complaint that respects
federal pleading standards, including the requirements of Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure 8(a) and 10(b), and shall file the complaint in this case on or before
Wednesday, December 2, 2015. Defendants shall respond no later than seven (7)
days after the date of service of such complaint.
2. In all other respects, Defendants’ Motion is DENIED.
DONE AND ORDERED in Chambers, Fort Pierce, Florida, this 18th day of November,
ROBIN L. ROSENBERG
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Copies furnished to:
Counsel of record
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